U.S. Installs 6.2 GW of Solar PV in 2014, Up 30 Percent

By Solar Industry Magazine

According to a new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, newly installed U.S. solar photovoltaic capacity for 2014 reached a record 6,201 MW, growing 30 percent over 2013’s total. An additional 767 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) came online in the same period.

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Solar accounted for 32 percent of the nation’s new generating capacity in 2014, the report says, beating out both wind energy and coal for the second year in a row. Only natural gas constituted a greater share of new generating capacity.

In 2014, the three major U.S. market segments – utility, commercial and residential – each installed more than a gigawatt of PV. This is the first time all three have done so in the same year.

According to the report, the U.S. utility-scale segment broke the gigawatt mark in 2011 and has since grown by nearly 1 GW annually. In 2014, 3.9 GW of utility-scale PV projects came online, with another 14 GW of projects currently under contract.

In 2014, the commercial segment installed just over 1 GW, down 6 percent from 2013, the report notes.

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The U.S. residential segment has passed the gigawatt mark for the first time, with 1.2 GW installed. Residential continues to be the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S., the report says, with 2014 marking three consecutive years of greater than 50 percent annual growth.

Additional key findings of the report include the following:

  • By the end of 2014, 20 states passed the 100 MW mark for cumulative operating solar PV installations – California alone has an installed capacity of 8.7 GW;
  • More than 500 MW of residential solar installations came online without any state incentive;
  • Growth remains driven primarily by the utility solar PV market, which installed 1.5 GW in the fourth quarter of 2014, the largest quarterly total ever for any market segment;
  • PV installations are forecast to reach 8.1 GW in 2015, up 59 percent over 2014;
  • CSP had a record year in 2014, with 767 MW brought online; and
  • As of the end of 2014, cumulative operating PV in the U.S. totaled 18.3 GW and cumulative operating CSP totaled 1.7 GW.

More information on the report, “U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review,” is available here.

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